Mid-American Conference Softball Weekly Preview

Updated 4/2/2013


The Zips (13-14, 2-2 MAC) played to an even split in their conference debut last weekend, taking two on the road at Buffalo and dropping a pair of games at Kent State. Akron went off for a season-high 15 hits in a 10-1 rout of the Bulls Friday, as five different players picked up a double and Jessica Schneider and Shawna Hochstetler both went yard...Sophomore Rachael Ratcliffe belted her sixth home run of the year in UA’s second game versus Kent on Saturday, and is now just three longballs shy of her season total as a freshman...Freshman ace Erin Seiler has struck out more batters than any pitcher in the MAC, sitting down 103 batters so far in her rookie season in 125.2 innings in the circle... Akron travels to Bowling Green Friday for a doubleheader followed by a short trip up I-75 to Toledo for Saturday and Sunday action.
Ball State
During the Cardinals’ current eight-game winning streak, six of the team’s starters are batting .345-or-better … Junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert leads the way with a .552 (16-for-29) average during the run, with five home runs, three doubles, 11 runs scored and 10 RBI … Senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter is right behind with an eight-game batting average of .448 (13-for-29) which includes four doubles, six RBI and five runs scored … Junior first baseman Taylor Rager is next at .429 (12-for-28), followed by junior third baseman Audrey Bickel at .409 (9-for-22), sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox at .387 (12-for-31) and sophomore right fielder/designated player Hanne Stuedemann at .345 (10-for-29) … As a team, the Cardinals are batting .347 over the past eight games with 19 doubles, a triple and nine home runs.
Bowling Green
The Bowling Green State University softball team (13-11, 1-3 MAC) hit the road to take on Detroit-Mercy this Tuesday, April 2, facing off against the Titans in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. The Falcons are 35-8 in the all-time series against the Titans, including a record of 7-1 under head coach Shannon Salsburg. The Falcons split their series with Detroit-Mercy last season, defeating the Titans, 6-4, in game one, before falling 3-1 in game two of the doubleheader at Meserve Field. Bowling Green pounded out 22 runs and gave up just five total hits in two games against the Titans in their last meeting in Detroit, sweeping the doubleheader, 14-0 and 8-3...  The Falcons will host Akron in a Friday doubleheader before hosting Ohio in their Saturday-Sunday series. 
The Bulls picked up their first Mid-American Conference win on Saturday as they defeated Ohio, 4-3.  Freshman Nicole Aviles pitched a one-hitter in the victory, striking out a career-high 12 batters in the process.  Aviles did not allow a hit until the fifth inning.  Offensively, Buffalo was led by junior Sammi Gallardo, who slugged .909% over the three games.  Her biggest hit came in the bottom of the fifth against the Bobcats when she tied the game with a leadoff solo home run.  Buffalo hits the road for the first time in conference play this weekend with games against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.
Central Michigan
Central Michigan opens up the newly renovated Margo Jonker Stadium on Wednesday, April 3, with a doubleheader against University of Detroit Mercy. This week will feature six games at home for the Chippewas, as they continue Mid-American Conference play this weekend against Buffalo and Kent State.  Sophomore CarolAnn Sexauer is on 12-game hit streak and batting .483 over the past 10 games. In her last three outings, she has three homeruns and six hits. Sexauer currently ranks seventh in the MAC with a .373 batting average over 24 games, and is t-fourth with eight doubles.  The Chippewas pitching staff has given up the least amount of earned runs (57) and lead the MAC with a 2.50 combined ERA. Opponents have hit .243 against Central Michigan pitchers, only bettered by Akron’s .242 average. All four of the Chippewas pitchers rank in the top-eleven of the conference. Junior Chelsea Sundberg is coming off of a 2-hit shutout at Eastern Michigan on Saturday, March 30. She faced 25 batters, striking out six and giving up no walks in 7.0 innings.
Eastern Michigan
EMU is now 10-13-1 on the season and 1-1 in MAC play after 24 games. The Eagles host six home games this week, including a non-conference doubleheader against Valparaiso Wednesday, April 3, at 2 p.m. Eastern will then welcome Kent State in for a doubleheader Friday, April 5, at 1 p.m. before hosting a two-game series with Buffalo Saturday-Sunday, April 6-7, at Varsity Field.
Kent State
Kent State (12-12, 3-1) opened Mid-American Conference play by going 3-1 against East Division rivals Ohio and Akron. Winter weather caused Friday’s doubleheader with the Bobcats to be moved to Athens, but the Golden Flashes were able to sweep the Zips on Saturday. Sophomore Emma Johnson led the Flashes to a pair of 2-1 victories and concluded the weekend with a save in Saturday’s second game. Junior infielder Abbey Ledford collected four hits on the weekend, including three doubles. Junior Kim Morgason and freshman Shelbi Tilton had two RBI apiece. Kent State will be on the road this weekend for crossover games against Eastern Michigan on Friday and Central Michigan on Saturday and Sunday.
Miami is 3-1 in the MAC, its best starts since beginning league play 3-1 in 2010. It’ll be a busy eight days at home for the RedHawks. On Tuesday, Miami finally gets it home opener when it welcomes Butler for a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. The ‘Hawks will host Western Michigan on Friday and Northern Illinois over the weekend for MAC play. The home stretch will conclude with a doubleheader against Morehead State on Tuesday, Apr. 9 starting at 3 p.m.
Northern Illinois
Ashley Kopp hit her first career grand slam in NIU’s 12-5 victory over Western Michigan..Erika Oswald tallied a career-high four RBIs in the Huskies’ 12-5 win over the Broncos.  The Huskies return to the field Wednesday when NIU faces travels to Bloomington, Ill. to take on Illinois State. First pitch is set for at 4 p.m. and fans can follow all the action live, via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
Ohio split doubleheader series at Kent State and Buffalo on the weekend, beginning the 2013 Mid-American Conference season with a 2-2 mark … The Bobcats clubbed six home runs during the weekend compared to just one from their opponents … Through just 29 games, the Bobcats have already hit 42 home runs on the season, a mere five shy of tying the program mark of 47 set during the 2012 season … Following two-game series at Toledo and Bowling Green, the Bobcats will play 10 straight home games from April 9 – 18, marking Ohio’s longest homestand in 14 years.
The Toledo softball team will focus on consistency this week as it tries to reverse the recent trend of losing close games. The Rockets (5-19, 0-4 MAC) will travel to Dayton, OH on Wednesday, April 3 for a doubleheader against the Flyers (11-14) at UD Softball Stadium, before hosting four conference games this weekend.  UT will battle Ohio (17-12, 2-2 MAC) in two games at Scott Park on Friday, April 5 beginning at 1:00 p.m., before welcoming Akron (13-14, 2-2 MAC) to the Glass City on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7. First pitch for each game against the Zips is slated for 2:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively.  The Midnight Blue & Gold are looking for a win after suffering a pair of doubleheader losses to Miami and Ball State to open league play last weekend. UT fell to the Redhawks 7-5 and 11-10 on Friday, then dropped 14-5 and 10-7 decisions to the Cardinals on Saturday. Nine of the team’s 15 losses have been by two runs or less, and three have come in the opponent’s final at-bat.
Western Michigan
Western Michigan opened the 2013 Mid-American Conference season with a two-game split on the road at Northern Illinois … the loss in the MAC opener was the first for WMU since falling to Central Michigan, 5-2, in 2007 … WMU’s 7-6 win on Saturday is its third win this season when trailing after six innings … Broncos are now 5-4 in one-run games … WMU will face No. 13/14 Michigan on April 2, the fourth nationally ranked team thus far in 2013 … The Broncos defeated Michigan, 2-1, in 2012 when the Wolverines were ranked No. 20.